Chapter 21

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"Dedicated to szamora because she was the first to vote and comment <3 Thank you, love!"

Chapter 21
    “Wake up, Tyler,” Daniel said frantically.
    I groaned and rolled over. “What?” I asked groggily. I was working the closing shift again today, and I had every intention to sleep in as long as I possibly could.
    “My car wont start, and you have to take me to work; I’m going to be so late.”
    I pushed myself from bed and grabbed my keys robotically. “Ok. Ok.” Despite getting into the whole swing of having a job and waking up early, I still didn’t enjoy it; I would never be a morning person.
    I strode through the cool fall morning barefoot to my car. Unlocking it, Daniel practically threw himself in the car. I couldn’t help but smile at him. He was the type of guy who liked to be twenty minutes early to everything. Being late would probably kill him. “Please, hurry up, Tyler,” he nearly begged.
    During the whole drive, Daniel nearly bounced in his seat. “You still have time, babe,” I said as I glanced at the clock. “You’ll make it.”
    “I hate not being early,” he wined.
    I chuckled at him as I followed the way to my old home. “One day isn’t going to kill you.”
    He squinted at me dangerously. “You don’t know that.”
    This time I laughed. “Well, I’m happy I got to see you this morning. That’s a plus, right?”
    Daniel leaned over and pressed his lips against my cheek. “Any extra moments I get to spend with you are a plus.”
    I pulled into the large driveway that led to my old home, put the car in park, and gave Daniel a kiss before he climbed out of my car. “I’ll call you when I get off, ok?”
    Nodding, I smiled. “Have a good day at work, my knight.”
    “I’ll try, but I won’t be able to wait until I get to see you again, my prince.” He gave me a little bow as he walked up the steps, used his key, and then walked into the house.
    I put the car into drive, but found myself lingering in the drive. I hadn’t seen this house since the day I packed all my things and began my new life with Daniel.
    A part of me itched to go inside, to see how much it changed or stayed the same. I wanted to walk through my mother’s kitchen, and I wanted to visit my old bedroom; however, I eased my foot off the breaks and drove back to my home.
    Once home, I immediately threw myself onto the bed and slept until the alarm commanded that I wake for my own job. Yawning, I stripped down and took a quick shower and stepped into my work outfit: khaki pants and a green polo shirt with a white nametag embroidered with my name.
    I looked myself over in the mirror and smiled. Here I was, dressed in the ugliest pants in the entire world, getting ready to drive in my own car to my job. I chuckled to myself. “It’s so hard to believe,” I said to myself, “that I can be this happy.”
    Locking the apartment behind me, I walked down the flights of stairs and stepped into the early afternoon air. As I slid my key into the lock of my car, I wished I chose to wear a jacket; the air was unusually cold today.
    The drive to the grocery store was a short one. I chose to work here because it wasn’t some large establishment; it was just a small neighborhood grocery store that catered to the town around it. The people that I worked with were actually relatively nice, and I made some sort of effort to talk to them.
    I stepped through the sliding glass door, the air considerably cooler than the already cool air outside. “Hey, Tyler!” Chimed Amanda, a nineteen-year-old girl who just graduated high school; this was her first job.
    She and I were exactly alike in that way.
    “Hey, Amanda,” I said with a smile as she raked her long fingers through her short, red hair. I couldn’t tell if she was nice to me because she liked me or because she thought she had a chance with me. She was a short girl, a few inches shorter than me, but had a personality twice the size of anyone. “You working closing?”
    She and I had potential to be friends; she could be my first friend.
    Amanda flashed a smile my way, nodded a silent yes, and continued working. I took my stop at the register behind her. Making sure everything was in check, I flipped the light above my head on, signaling that my register was now open.
    It would be nice to have someone working closing with me. Usually, I ended up the only person in the store, and that gave me the creeps.
    My first customer was an elderly lady just buying her milk, bread, and eggs. “Good afternoon,” I said cheerily.
     She smiled a sweet, wrinkle wrapped, smile in return that touched her dusty blue eyes. After scanning her items and carefully placing them in their bags, I told her the amount and she reached into the depths of her purse, pulling out a plastic card.
    “Credit or debit?”
    “EBT,” she said without hesitation as she slid her card in the machine.
    Punching the button marked EBT on the computer, I told her the new amount she had to pay, “your new total is two dollars and fifteen cents.”
    Worry flashed over her eyes as she propped her purse on the counter and began digging out change from seemingly every compartment in her bag. Lifting her eyes up to me in embarrassment, she muttered something that I didn’t quite catch.
    “Excuse me?” I asked politely.
    “I’m short,” she said as her wrinkled cheeks turned a light pink.
    I opened my mouth to speak, but couldn’t bring myself to tell her to put something back. I never judged people who used food stamps; hell, if the government gave it to you, you might as well use it; however, I noticed that so many families came through my line with hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and never had to pay anything out of their own pocket.
    I also noticed that the few elderly people that received food stamps only seemed to get a few dollars.
    I couldn’t find the justice in that.
    I smiled down at her and reached into my back pocket, pulling out my wallet. I dug out two one dollar bills. “How about you just owe me the fifteen cents?”
    The old woman stared at me for a long moment then finally grinned so wide that I had to bite my lip from chuckling. She retrieved fifteen cents from her mound of change and placed it in my palm. “Thank you,” she said simply.
    I turned to the cash register and placed the money inside, grabbed her receipt as it printed, and handed it over to the elderly woman. “You’re welcome, ma’am,” I said cheerily. “Have a nice rest of the day.”
    She locked her blue eyes to mine once more as she reached for her groceries. She seemed to struggle with the bags, so I walked over and placed the bags into her shopping cart. Looking around, I found Robert, a short, round man in his late thirties, stocking a shelf. “This woman is going to need assistance,” I said to him.
    He looked up from his own work and nodded to me silently. He walked over and followed the woman out the glass door. She stopped to glance over her shoulder. “Thank you,” she said once more.
    I couldn’t help but smile as she left. The world seemed to be filled with so many vile things, and it felt nice to be the thing that brightened a person’s day. No one enjoyed being nice anymore.
    “Why are you so nice?” Amanda asked as she turned around from her register. Most days, the store only had a handful of customers. Most of the people that shopped here liked to come early in the morning to get it all over with.
    I shrugged. “I guess it just comes naturally.”
    Amanda popped a piece of chewing gum in her mouth and began chewing away. “What do you have planned tonight?” She asked with a smile that made her brown eyes light up; it was either because of her smile or the florescent lights caught the bright eye shadow that wrapped her eyes.
    “A nice long bath,” I said with a chuckle. Hopefully, it would be a nice long bath with Daniel.
    Frowning, she went on. “I wanted to see if you wanted to come to a party after work with me.”
    I laughed and ran my hand through my hair. “I’m not really a party person, and I have to pick up my,” I found myself at a loss for words. I didn’t make it a point to run around screaming, I’m gay, but I didn’t want to deny Daniel as my boyfriend. “I have to pick up my,” I started once more but came to the same resolve.
    “Boyfriend?” Amanda asked, finishing my sentence.
    I stared at her in disbelief.
    “Don’t look so shocked, Tyler,” she said as she smacked her gum. “You don’t really come off as exactly straight,” she said with a friendly smile.
    Laughing, I couldn’t help but feel relieved. “Well, I have to pick my boyfriend up from work tonight,” I said quietly. I still didn’t want to shout it at the top of my lungs. Like I said, the world was on the path to becoming more accepting, but it wasn’t quite there yet.
    “Bummer,” she said as she turned around to face a customer. Once she finished with him, she turned back to me. “Some other time then?”
    I never took myself for someone who would consider going to a party, but I smiled at Amanda and nodded my head. “Definitely.” Maybe it would do me some good to go out and actually try to make friends.
    Something told me that Amanda and me would get along perfectly well.
    The rest of the night went on with its feet dragging in the dirt. I had a few more people come through my line, bringing my total for the day to a nice and healthy twelve. When ten finally rolled around, I counted my register and locked it behind me. Amanda did the same.
    We left the store together; Amanda locked the doors behind her. “I’ll hit you up for the party until you say yes. You do realize that, right?”
    I shoved Amanda lightly. “I wouldn’t put it past you.”
    Splitting apart, Amanda made her way to her car, and I slid the key into my own car. “See you later, Amanda!” I called as I climbed in.
    She waved out her window as her car roared into life. I did the same, but stayed in park. I pulled my cell phone, a gift to myself from myself, and made sure I didn’t have any missed calls or texts from Daniel.
    I didn’t, which meant I probably had time to drive home and change into more comfortable clothes before I had to pick him up.
    I drove to the apartment and quickly ran upstairs. I did a quick check in the fridge to make sure there were plenty of leftovers to choose from and darted off into the bedroom to chance into a pair of sweats and the tie-dye shirt Daniel and me made together.
    As I slipped a sweater over my head, my phone chimed to life. I pressed the send button and pulled it to my ear. “Hey, babe,” I said into the phone.
    “Hey, Tyler,” Daniel said warmly. Just hearing him made me want to cuddle up next to him. “I’m off if you want to swing by and pick me up.”
    I smiled. “I’m on my way.”
    I heard Daniel chuckle. “I’ll be waiting; I love you, Tyler.”
    “I love you too.”
    With that, the line went dead. Stuffing my phone into my pocket, I grabbed my car keys and left the apartment, making sure that I locked the door behind me. The drive to my old home felt like it took forever and a day, but when I finally reached the driveway, I couldn’t keep the grin from my lips.
    I wanted to curl up with Daniel and not move for the next month.
    Pulling the car into park, I reached into my pocket and dialed Daniel’s number. I put it to my ear and waited for him to answer. Oddly enough, it went to his voicemail.
    Frowning as I waited a few more moments, I glanced at the front porch before dialing his number once more. I reached his voicemail again.
    Waiting impatiently, I eyed the front door, trying to see if there was any movement. After a good minute, I decided that I would just knock on the door. If I saw my father, I would use this as an excuse to try and talk to him.
    Maybe I would invite him over for dinner or something.
    I opened the door and began up the stairs that led to the front door. Raising my hand to knock, I stopped as I peered through the glass. Everything about the house looked exactly the same as when I left, but that wasn’t why I stopped.
    I stopped knocking because I saw, to my own utter disbelief, my father with his arms around Daniel. The two of them appeared to be sharing an intimate kiss.
    A kiss.
    Daniel was kissing my father.
    My heart tossed itself out of my chest and hit the ground and shattered into thousands of tiny dagger-like pieces. I took a step back, bringing my hand to my gaping mouth to silence my silent scream.
    I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t focus.
    Taking another step back, I tripped down the stairs and fell the concrete on my back as I stared at the door.
    Everything around me shattered just like my heart. At the same time, everything clicked in my brain. The reason my father hated my gayness was because he was gay himself, but unlike him, I wasn’t trapped in a marriage with a child of my own.
    My mother didn’t kill herself because my father was cheating on her with other women; she found out that he was having affairs with other men.
    I felt light headed and sick to my stomach as I kicked my feet on the ground, scooting myself to the car. When my back finally reached the passenger door, I ran my hands through my hair. “No,” was all I could manage to choke out.
    The front door opened suddenly; Daniel stepped into the golden light from the porch and locked his eyes to mine. “Tyler,” he said breathlessly.
    That was all it took for me to snap back into reality. I pushed myself to my feet and threw the passenger door open, quickly crawling into the driver’s seat. I pulled the door shut and pressed the automatic locking button just as Daniel ran to the door.
    “Tyler!” He screamed as tears fell down his eyes.
    My own tears finally fell as I cranked the car to a start. With my vision blurred, I spun out on the driveway as I floored the gas. I sobbed uncontrollably as I sped back to the apartment. I didn’t pay attention to stop signs or traffic lights; my mind could only focus on getting home.
    I parked my car and leapt out, leaving my door ajar as I ran upstairs. Fumbling with the keys, I finally opened the door, not bothering to shut it behind me.
    My entire life was nothing but one giant lie. I tripped over my own feet and fell face first to the carpet below. I ripped at my hair and finally screamed, releasing all the anger, sadness, and tension running rampant through my system.
    Everything I thought I worked so hard to achieve turned out to be nothing more than one giant sugar coated lie.
    Daniel didn’t love me; he was having an affair with my father.
    My father.
    I pushed myself to my feet as I felt bile rise up my throat. I barely made it to the toilet before throwing up my guts.
    As my stomach lurched once more, it seemed like I didn’t just throw up my guts, but also my emotions. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and pushed myself to my feet, locking eyes with my reflection.
    “How could you be so stupid?” I mumbled lifelessly.
    I felt nothing; I felt hollow.
    “How could you be so stupid?” I screamed, slamming my fist into the mirror, shattering it and distorting my appearance.
    Warm blood dripped down my arm as I stared at the fractions of my reflection; I was broken, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
    Somehow, I felt like I finally understood my mother. This must have been exactly as she felt.
    Nothing.
    There was nothing left for her to feel.
    I felt tears drip down my cheeks as I realized I didn’t want to live any longer. There was no point in life. I worked so hard, fell in love, only to be laughed at directly to my face. I didn’t want to be alone again; I couldn’t be alone again.
    I opened the mirror, revealing a shelf of medications. With my mind clear, I opened the first bottle without paying attention to the label and dumped the contents into my mouth. Leaning down to the sink, I turned the tap on and filled my mouth with water.
    Meeting the thousand eyes of my reflection once more, I swallowed hard. Instantly, I gagged, but I kept the pills down. Opening the mirror once more, I grabbed a few more pill bottles and sat on the edge of the toilet.
    “It’s amazing how I don’t feel anything at all anymore,” I said to the air. The sound of my own voice sent me into another burst of tears as I struggled with the second bottle of pills. I dumped them into my mouth and swallowed without water.
    They left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I had to swallow a few times for them to go down. I tossed the bottle to the ground and chuckled. Quickly, the chuckled turned into tear-drenched hysterics.
    Cradling the third and final pill bottle against my chest, I pushed myself to my feet, wobbled slightly, but made my way to the kitchen. I opened a cabinet and pulled out a bottle of vodka. I removed the cap, tossed it to the ground, and stole a long drag from the bottle.
    Sitting the alcohol on the counter, I opened the final bottle of pills and dumped them into my mouth. I wrapped my fingers around the vodka and took a final drag from the bottle.
    I could feel my body reacting to the drugs, but I didn’t care. I slid to the ground, falling in a useless pile as I wrapped my arms around my chest.
    “This is it,” I said in a voice that sounded far away.
    More tears dripped down my cheeks as I waited for death to take me from the hell that was my life. As I waited, I felt my stomach cramp, sending waves of pain through my entire being, but I felt too weak to move.
    Suddenly, I felt someone brush their fingers through my hair. A smile crept on my lips as my vision blurred farther. “Jerry?” I asked the air.
    “Shh, Tyler. I’m here for you,” Jerry whispered as he held me.
    I pressed my eyes closed as a wave of comfort settled over me despite the horrible pain webbing through my system.
    In the end, my end, I didn’t die alone. I had the only friend that ever stayed by my side, and he was there with me until the bitter end. The man I loved turned into nothing but a lie, and my life turned out to be nothing more than the same giant lie as Daniel.
    I didn’t deserve happiness, but I sure as hell didn’t deserve to feel this way.
    I accepted my death in hopes that maybe, just maybe, whatever awaited me would be better than the life I had.

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And with that, I present you with the climax of the story.

Poor Tyler ):

As always, please take the time to vote and comment on this chapter. You have no idea how much it means to me when you all do<3

<//3 my heart broke when I wrote this chapter <//3

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